The Central Working Committee (CWC) for The Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders has unveiled the full list of Keynote Speakers, Lead-ins, and Discussants at the historic event, which will gather young Nigerian leaders from across the country to discuss governance and leadership.
The Symposium holds on 11 & 12 January 2012 at the Muson Centre in Lagos Nigeria and is presented by The Future Project, in association with EiE Nigeria and the International Republican Institute. 50 percent of the seats for participants have been reserved for open nomination. You can nominate yourself or someone else on

“We are incredibly excited about all the young people we have managed to bring together,” says Adebola Williams, a Director of The Future Project. “We are gathering some of the brightest and best of young Nigerian leaders from all the six geo-political zones to talk about how the next generation will choose to lead. This generation wants to be different from the last – but how can it do that practically? The target is for a truly transformed and functioning Nigeria – but unless we actually and define that leadership ideal, we will be unable to achieve it. This symposium takes the first giant step.”

The Headline Speaker is Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank VP for Africa; she is supported by Bishop Matthew Kukah, Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church. The Opening Address will be given by the Minister for Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.
The hosts are Tolu Ogunlesi, winner for CNN African Journalist of the Year 2009; and Adaure Achumba, a correspondent for Reuters.
See the full list below:
The Perspective from Government
A) Emerging Leaders: Public Officers/Civil Servants – Is it Possible to Stand Out in Government? (Lead-in – Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Executive Governor of Ekiti State)
The Challenge of Governance in Nigeria is the continuing perception that when “good people” enter government; they become unrecognisable, lost in a web of waste, corruption and deceit. With examples, models and prescriptions, this panel will assess the viability of standing up for positivity in government.
Discussants – Hauwa Abdullahi-Booth (Senior State Counsel, Federal Capital Territory Administration), Babasola Alokolaro (General Counsel to the Governor of Lagos State), Dolapo Badru (Special Assistant on Youth, Lagos State Governor), Emmanuel Etim (Programme Manager, AUYVC-PMU/Partnerships & Ext. Relations Adviser, African Union Commission), Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin (Special Assistant to Oyo Gov Special Projects), Emmanuel Okocha (Special Assistant, Federal Minister of Youth Development/Former Special Assistant, Kwara State Commissioner for Education), Umaru Tanko-Yakassai (Chief Personal Physician, Executive Governor of Kano State).
Moderator: Mfon Ekpo (Maritime Lawyer/Negotiator)

B) Emerging Leaders: Technocrats – Understanding the Problem: Politics or Competence? (Lead-in – Mr. Oronto Douglas, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Strategy, Research, and Documentation & Prof. Pat Utomi, Director of the Centre for Applied Economics, Pan-African University)
From the return of democracy in 1999, there has been a clamour for “technocracts” in government – people who are uniquely qualified in their area of appointment. More than a decade after, has this led to any transformative change? Or are we doing it all wrong? We assess the impact and relevance of this set of public officials.
Discussants – Tope Akande (Head of Corporate Affairs, Lagos State Signage & Advertising Agency), Ohimai Amaize (Special Assistant on Advocacy, Minister of Youth Development), Chime Asonye (Associate, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Millennium Development Goals), Asawo Ibifuro (Managing Director, Cinfores), Amara Nwakpa (IT Consultant),  Olasupo Olusi (Technical Assistant, Coordinating Minister of the Economy), Hakeem Shagaya (Director, Unity Bank/Former Technical Adviser, Ministry of Finance).
Moderator: Aziza Uko (Editor-at-Large, Y! Magazine)
C) Emerging Leaders: Politicians – The Matter of Mud (Lead-in –Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Executive Governor of Rivers State & Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Former Minister of the FCT)
One of Nigeria’s more popular borrowed clichés is “Politics is a dirty game”. But with many politicians managing to be in or leave government with either reputations intact and/or praise for their achievements, how can a new generation of leaders achieve this feat – and make politics more palatable for greater involvement?
Discussants – Jibrin Abdulmumuni (Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance), Olaide Agboola (House of Representatives Candidate, Ijesa South Federal Constituency, Ogun State), Uche Chuta (Board Member, Engage Nigeria Forum), John Lebo (Member of the House of Assembly, Abi Constituency, Cross River State), Egghead Odewale (Personal Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State), Babatunde Sarumi (2011 PDP House of Representatives Candidate), Bilyaminu Shinkafi (Member of the House of Representatives, Shinkafi/Zurmi Federal Constituency, Zamfara State).
Moderator: Deji Badmus (Head, Reportorial Desk, Channels Television)
The Private Sector Alternative
A) Emerging Leaders: Professionals – The Degrees of Separation (Lead-in – Austin Edoja-Peters, Head of Corporate Communications, Access Bank & Folake Ani-Mumunney, Chief Marketing Officer, First Bank)
Is there a need for a greater interest in government by professionals – or is it enough to sit behind desks and do our jobs well? The historic EnoughisEnough rallies last year and the #ABSURape saga this year signpost a new era of professional involvement which is effective because of its independence from government and politics. This panel will assess impact and the future.
Discussants – Jumoke Adekunle (Communications Manager Nigeria, Girl Hub), Idiare Atimomo (Manager, Youth Segment, Etisalat), Kunle Durojaiye (Cranfield MBA Grad), Austine Imoukhuede (New Business Development Manager, Nutricima Ltd), Mariah Mogoli, (Petroleum Economist, Sahara Energy Field Limited), Jennifer Obayuwana (Executive Director, Polo), Femi Odusote (Reservoir Engineer, Chevron), Akintunde Oyebode (Head SME Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC), Nana Shehu (Senior Analyst  –  Lotus Capital Limited Kano), Kehinde Shote (Consultant, Shell Petroleum).
Moderator: Ferdinand Adimefe (Research & Development Executive, Century Energy Services Ltd)
B) Emerging Leaders: Artistes – When is it More than a Job? (Lead-in – Biola Alabi, Managing Director, Mnet Africa & Obi Asika, CEO, Storm 360)
The last presidential elections threw up a new and dominant scenario where several high profile entertainers endorsed candidates for office. While this is proper practice in many developed democracies, the transactional nature of our politics led to criticism as to motivation and reward. We seek to explore the burden on entertainers; the criticism over discharge of professional duties and the correct context within which to situate such engagement.
Discussants – Funke Akindele (Actor/Producer), Ikhane Akhighe, (CEO, AbOriginal Productions), Lanre Dabiri – Eldee (Rapper/Producer), Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (Actress/Producer), Audu Maikori (CEO, Chocolate City Group), Ebuka Obi-Uchendu (TV/Event Host), Stephanie Okereke (Director, Del-York International), Nkiru Sylvanus (Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo State) Bankole Wellington – Banky W (Director, EME).
Moderator: Matse Uwatse (Presenter, Nigeria Info FM)
C) Emerging Leaders: Entrepreneurs – Building an Alternative Resource-Base to Affect Governance (Lead-in – Tonye Cole, CEO, Sahara Group & Dumo Lulu-Briggs, CEO, DLB Marine Ltd)
Is it time for young people with thriving businesses to put their monies where their mouths are? Is it possible to be a force for good from the outside, financing candidates, and marshalling resources to support positive change in the Nigerian society? This session will stimulate thought and action – as well as effective strategy for engagement.
Discussants – Toyosi Akerele (CEO, Rise Group), Segun Demuren (Managing Director, Evergreen Apple Nigeria – EAN Hangar Jet Center), Bisola Edun (Managing Director, Tae), Gbolahan Fagbure (Managing Director, Road Repair Company), Kingsley James (Deputy Managing Director, DigiPrints), Chioma Nwagboso (Private Sector Specialist, World Bank), Tayo Oviosu (CEO, Pagatech), Hassan Rilwan (CEO, Focal Point Group), Perez Tigidam (Creative Director, Arden & Newton), Mosunmola Umoru (CEO, Honeysuckles PTL Ventures).
Moderator: Ohimai Atafo (Creative Director, MAI)
Driving Change from Outside
A) Emerging Leaders: New Media Commentators – Questioning The Effectiveness of Arm-Chairs (Lead-in – Dele Momodu, Publisher, Ovation)
The evolving phenomenon of the online commenter and thought leader is extensively explored, perhaps for the first time in our nation’s history. It is important to identify the dichotomy between the arm chair critic and the force for change. The accessibility and egalitarianism of the online space – blogosphere and social networks – can be a veritable tool for development – but how? And what are the rules of effective engagement?
Discussants – Nmachi Jidenma (Programme Coordinator, Sub-Saharan Africa, Google), Daibat Garuba ( Lawyer), OO Nwoye (CEO, SOLUTION Y/Founder, TechCircle Nigeria), Henry Okelue (Presales Consultant, Galaxy Backbone Plc), Japheth Omojuwa (Editor, AfricaLiberty.Org), Babatunde Rosanwo (Economy and Society Research Student, Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland), Seyi Taylor (CEO, Blouuve).
Moderator: Kola Oyeneyin (CEO, Venia Business Hub)
B) Emerging Leaders: Traditional Media – The Challenge of Responsible Influence (Lead-in – Ibim Semenitari, Former Editor, Tell Magazine/Commissioner for Information, Rivers State)
The Nigerian media has consistently been accused of duplicity and corruption, severely weakening its moral authority to drive the conversation. It is important to explore how much of this is exaggerated and how much is reality with a view to establishing a new credibility and moral order for the media in an information age where the consumer drives the news via a 24-hour media cycle. This panel will look at that future critically.
Discussants – Al-Kassim Abdulkadir (Contributor, CNN), Abdulkarim Baba-Aminu (Saturday Editor, Daily Trust), Tosyn Bucknor (On-Air Personality, Top Radio/Columnist, The Guardian), Biola Kazeem (Head of Strategy, Elev8), Cheta Nwanze (Chief Information Officer, Daily Times), Ahmed Shekarau (Editor, People’s Daily), Funke Treasure (Controller of Presentation, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria).
Moderator: Dr. Peju Adeniran (Editor, DocSays)
C) Emerging Leaders: Issue Advocates/Activists – How Far Away should We Stay from Government: Driving a Credible Agenda (Lead-in – Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder, LEAP Africa & Osayi Oruene, Executive Director, FATE Foundation)
Nigeria’s vibrant activism culture has seen many erstwhile activists make a quick cross over to government – leading to cynicism within the populace, convinced that activism is often an open invitation to patronage. This session will ruthlessly assess youth-led civil society organisations and how they can succeed with regard to motivation, intent and, sustainability.
Discussants – Yemi Adamolekun (Executive Director, EnoughisEnough Nigeria), Esther Agbarakwe (International Advocacy fellow, Population Action International, Washington DC, USA), Kingsley Bangwell (Team Leader, Youngstars Foundation), Mosun Layode (Executive Director, LEAP Africa), Zaynab Lukat (State Representative, Department for International Development, DFID Nigeria), Linus Okorie (President, GOTNI International), Gbenga Sesan (Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria).
Moderator: Rebecca Enobong Roberts (Executive/Operations Officer, Youth Empowerment & ICT Foundation)
Special Africa Session – Identifying a Continental Leadership Context
We often speak of leadership incidents that happen “only in Nigeria” – but the continent is replete with governance that is seen as corrupt, inefficient and pre-modern. The possibility of a continental push for good governance or creating a ripple effect through a network of countries working together is explored at this special session, alongside alternatives for development and growth.
Discussants – Hon. Evelyn Anite (Youth Representative, Parliament of Uganda – Uganda), Ewajesu Asala (Commonwealth Youth Representative for Nigeria/Deputy Chair, Commonwealth Youth Panel for Africa – Nigeria), Uzodinma Iweala (Author/Medical Doctor – Nigeria), Roselyn Kangara (Agribusiness Consultant – Kenya), Acha Leke (Partner, McKinsey & Company/Founder, African Leadership Academy – Cameroon), Kathleen Ndongomo (Ideation Consultant – Cameroon).
Moderator: Emmanuel Etim (Programme Manager, AUYVC-PMU/Partnerships & Ext. Relations Adviser, African Union Commission)
The event is held in partnership with and support from the World Bank, Federal Ministry of Youth, Ekiti State Government, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, and the Nigeria Leadership Initiative. Media partners are Channels Television, Africa Magic, FAB, Beat FM, Business Eye, LASAA, and; and the Official Media Partner is Y! (
The application form and more information about the symposium and The Future Project are available on Follow @TFProject on Twitter or The Future Project, Nigeria on Facebook.